Unlike transplantation candidates, patients with pulmonary hypertension (PHTN) and a high transpulmonary gradient do not appear to be at increased risk for right ventricular dysfunction after left ventricular assist system implant. To verify this observation, we reviewed 63 patients supported with the HeartMate (Thermo Cardiosystems, Inc, Woburn, MA) left ventricular assist system. Patients were divided into two groups: patients with PHTN (47 patients) had mean pulmonary artery pressure > 30 mm Hg and/or pulmonary vascular resistance >4 Wood units, and the remainder of patients did not have PHTN (16 patients). Both groups were similar in age (mean, 51 years), gender distribution (% men, 83% vs 94%, not significant), and number of patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy (72% vs 69%, not significant). More patients in the group without PHTN required extracor-poreal membrane oxygenation support (38% vs 12%, p = .06). Right ventricular assist device support was instituted in five (11%) patients with PHTN and four (25%) patients without PHTN. A significantly larger number of patients without PHTN died while on support (14% vs 44%, p = .01). Survival after transplantation in both groups was >90%. Patients with PHTN have higher transpulmonary gradient, show a significant decrease in pulmonary pressure after left ventricular assist system implantation, and have a higher transplantation rate compared to patients without PHTN. A larger patient cohort is needed to determine if the absence of PHTN is a risk factor for RVAD need and poor outcome after LVAS support.
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